Press Release

Enabling tomorrow: Aurubis releases new Sustainability Report 

Hamburg | Thursday, March 30, 2023

  • Renewable energy projects result in considerable CO2 savings  

  • Additional standards increase transparency in sustainability reporting 

  • Aurubis CO2 footprint for copper over 60 percent lower than the global average 

Recovering valuable metals with a multimetal recycling plant in the US. Investing in carbon-neutral production well before 2050. And setting higher standards for even more transparency and responsibility in the entire supply chain. These are three highlights from the new Aurubis AG Sustainability Report the multimetal producer released today. For the eighth time, Aurubis has delivered a comprehensive review of its company-wide dedication to a future for the economy, environment and people that is based on sustainable growth. 

With the new ‘Enabling tomorrow’ Sustainability Report, Aurubis is raising the bar on its standards for corporate conduct even higher: Along with the Global Reporting Initiative Standard (GRI), the company has also aligned its reporting with the voluntary Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) for the first time. The TCFD not only considers the impact of a company’s business activities on the climate; it also identifies the potential effects of climate change on business operations as well. The company has made its sustainability achievements transparent for years. This includes voluntary reporting on sustainability issues and participation in sustainability rankings and ratings along with the associated evaluations by independent rating agencies. 

The comprehensive Sustainability Report clearly shows that Aurubis has always viewed sustainability as an essential part of our own conduct and business activities. We are committed to handling our planet’s limited natural resources responsibly. And we ensure that the people we work with also take priority. At Aurubis, treating our employees, suppliers, customers, and neighbors with respect is a matter of course

Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said. 

In-house solar park delivers 13,500 megawatt hours of electricity 

The Sustainability Report underscores how successfully Aurubis has expanded its leadership role in sustainability despite the serious challenges of the past few years. A sustainable energy supply is one key factor here. The company is implementing a series of new energy projects to further reduce the impact of its activities on people and nature: At its site in Pirdop, Bulgaria, Aurubis constructed an in-house solar park that powers the plant with 13,500 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity – and avoids 22,400 tons of CO2 every year. It is currently the largest solar plant for internal electricity production for a company in Southeast Europe. Expansion target: a total of 24,000 MWh from solar power by 2024. The Aurubis plant in Olen, Belgium is looking to wind power: Since 2023, the plant has drawn 90 percent of the energy it needs from a Belgian offshore wind park. The potential CO2 savings here: 42,000 tons a year. 

Industrial heat prevents 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year 

Hamburg residents are benefiting from CO2-free waste heat from production: Preparations are underway for the second stage to expand the Industrial Heat project in operation since 2018. In cooperation with public utility Hamburger Energiewerke, up to 20,000 additional households will be getting their heat from the plant every year starting in the 2024/25 heating period. It is the largest project of its kind in Germany and will prevent an additional 100,000 tons of CO2 per year. Another innovative project at Aurubis: At the headquarters in Hamburg, blue ammonia was used as an energy source in a pilot project aimed at advancing the decarbonization of copper production. 

With all its activities in the field of climate and environmental protection, Aurubis is pursuing a clear objective: The company is aiming for carbon-neutral production well before 2050. Aurubis has invested more than € 780 million in protecting the environment and the climate since 2000, with € 47 million in 2021 alone. The approaches and technologies are as different as the needs of the Aurubis sites around the world. As early as 2019, Aurubis pledged to develop science-based CO2 reduction targets and as such contribute to limiting global warming. 

CO2 footprint for copper over 60 percent lower than the global average

Another takeaway from the new Sustainability Report: The company is on the right track with its comprehensive decarbonization agenda. Today, Aurubis is already producing many metals with less than half the average CO2 emissions of its global competitors. The CO2 footprint of its main product, copper cathodes, has fallen by 36 percent since 2013. At the same time, the footprint of its plants is over 60 percent lower than the global industry average. The numbers for tin are even better: Aurubis is 76 percent below the global average here. 

To drive the transformation of the economy and society forward, Aurubis is increasingly committing to recycling and the circular economy. Today, the company already processes more than one million tons of recycling material, and the recycled content in each copper cathode is almost 45 percent. 

The Group has ambitious plans for increasing the recycling rate even further, and is pursuing a number of investments: In the US state of Georgia, Aurubis is building the country’s first plant for complex recycling materials with a processing capacity of 180,000 tons of input material per year. Aurubis is also investing in new recycling technology at its two Belgian plants to keep strategically crucial, high demand raw materials in the cycle. And at the Hamburg site, a pilot plant for recycling the lithium-ion batteries from electric cars went into operation last year. Findings have shown that more 95 percent of the materials contained in the used batteries were recovered.  

Sustainable sourcing certified 

As a multimetal company, Aurubis sources raw materials from many places around the globe. For a number of years now, all business partners have undergone a comprehensive Business Partner Screening based on the principles of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to fulfil due diligence for a responsible and sustainable supply chain. In the past fiscal year, the Aurubis plants in Hamburg, Lünen and in Bulgarian Pirdop were also certified.  

The external audit was conducted to the exacting standards of ‘The Copper Mark’, an industry initiative to verify the sustainability of copper production sites, including mines, smelters and refineries. “The Copper Mark stands for a voluntary commitment to responsibility along the entire value chain and covers 32 sustainability criteria,” Christian Hein, Head of Sustainability at Aurubis, said. In dialogue with stakeholders, Aurubis continuously reviews the sustainability criteria and adjusts them accordingly. The certification process is currently underway at the Olen plant. 

Ivailo Georgiev
Ivailo Georgiev

Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager

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